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How to Turn Off Amber Alerts on iPhone (With Photos)

Do you ever get annoyed when an Amber Alert suddenly interrupts your sleep or daily activities? While these alerts serve an important public safety purpose, you may wish to disable them on your iPhone at times. Fortunately, it only takes a few quick steps to turn off Amber Alerts on your iPhone – either temporarily or permanently.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll cover everything you need to know about disabling Amber Alerts on your iPhone:

  • The history and effectiveness of the Amber Alert system
  • Understanding why Amber Alerts appear on your iPhone
  • A step-by-step tutorial for turning off Amber Alerts
  • Customizing your emergency alert settings
  • Deciding if turning off Amber Alerts is the right choice
  • How Amber Alerts could be improved

Let‘s get started!

A Brief History of Amber Alerts in the US

Before learning how to turn off Amber Alerts on your iPhone, it helps to understand what they are and why they were created.

The Amber Alert system originated in 1996 when 9-year-old Amber Hagerman was abducted while riding her bike in Arlington, Texas. Tragically, Amber was murdered. However, her case gained national attention and led to the creation of the first Amber Alert system in the Dallas-Fort Worth area as a way to rapidly notify the public about abducted children.

Since its inception, Amber Alerts have directly led to the safe recovery of over 1,000 abducted children nationwide. As Amber Alert systems expanded to cover all 50 states by 2007, the annual number of Amber Alerts issued steadily grew:

Year Amber Alerts Issued
2006 212
2010 283
2015 185
2020 175

This growth reflects wider adoption, but also an unfortunate increase in child abductions. Nonetheless, Amber Alerts remain an invaluable tool to mobilize communities when a child goes missing.

Why Amber Alerts Appear on Your iPhone

Given the undeniable value of Amber Alerts, you might be wondering – why would I ever want to turn them off on my iPhone?

A few common frustrations cited by users include:

  • Irrelevant alerts – Getting notifications for abductions hundreds of miles away
  • Overuse – Some feel Amber Alerts are overused for cases that may not meet the qualifying criteria
  • Nighttime disruptions– Alerts can come through at any hour and disrupt sleep

While these grievances are understandable, there are also technical reasons why Amber Alerts appear on your iPhone.

Amber Alerts are issued through the country‘s Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system, formerly called the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS). This emergency alert network was established in 2006 to provide a way for federal, state, and local authorities to send warnings directly to mobile devices.

The WEA system uses advanced geo-targeting capabilities to deliver location-based, customized alerts to iPhone users in a given area. For example, if an abduction occurs in Denver, only iPhones within the Denver metro area would receive the Amber Alert notification.

Finally, to ensure Amber Alerts cut through the noise and reach the public, the WEA system overrides your iPhone‘s mute and Do Not Disturb settings. This explains why an Amber Alert can still alarm loudly even if your ringer is off!

Step-By-Step: How to Disable Amber Alerts on Your iPhone

If you‘ve decided the benefits of potentially life-saving alerts are outweighed by disruptive iPhone notifications, here is how to turn off Amber Alerts on your iPhone:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Scroll down and tap Notifications
  3. Continue scrolling to the very bottom of the screen
  4. Locate the Government Alerts section
  5. Tap the switch next to Amber Alerts to turn it gray and disable alerts

See the visual guide below if you need help finding the setting:
iPhone screen showing how to turn off Amber Alerts
It‘s quick and easy to toggle them back on any time by repeating these steps and tapping the Amber Alerts switch to turn it green.

Customizing Your Emergency Alert Settings

In addition to Amber Alerts, you can customize other types of emergency alerts under the Government Alerts section:

  • Emergency Alerts – Vital alerts from local/national authorities
  • Public Safety Alerts – Warnings about imminent public threats
  • State/Local Test Alerts – Tests of your local emergency alert system

Feel free to disable any alerts you find irrelevant or disruptive. I recommend keeping Emergency Alerts enabled for essential warnings like dangerous weather. But the choice is yours based on your needs!

Should You Turn Off Amber Alerts?

Before disabling Amber Alerts altogether, consider if less drastic options could meet your needs:

  • Turning on Do Not Disturb overnight to mute disruptions when sleeping
  • Temporarily silencing Amber Alerts then re-enabling them later
  • Submitting feedback to local agencies about improving relevancy

Amber Alerts are not flawless. There is room for improvement when it comes to ensuring alerts are geographically targeted and actionable.

However, they also remain an invaluable tool to broadcast urgent information quickly when a child‘s life hangs in the balance. Before turning them off, think carefully about how you can help strengthen the system rather than abandon it completely.

What do you think – how can Amber Alerts be improved in your local area? I‘d love to hear your thoughts and feedback! Please share them in the comments below.